Ancient Monuments

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Cross 30m south of St Constantine's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Constantine, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.118 / 50°7'4"N

Longitude: -5.1752 / 5°10'30"W

OS Eastings: 173108.835001

OS Northings: 29046.411001

OS Grid: SW731290

Mapcode National: GBR Z6.8RPF

Mapcode Global: FRA 081P.X8G

Entry Name: Cross 30m south of St Constantine's Church

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019165

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31867

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Constantine

Built-Up Area: Constantine

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Constantine

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval cross situated 30m south of St Constantine's
Church in south west Cornwall. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives
as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head standing to 0.6m high.
The head measures 0.49m in diameter and is 0.15m thick, and the principal
faces are orientated north-south. The south principal face bears a relief
equal limbed cross with splayed ends to the limbs. The north face displays an
incised, recessed equal limbed cross with splayed ends to the limbs. The shaft
measures 0.28m wide and 0.17m thick.
This cross was located in its present position before 1896 when the local
historian, Langdon recorded it. There is no record of this cross having been
moved, although it is more typical of a wayside cross than a churchyard cross,
and it has been suggested that it may be a wayside cross which has been moved
into the churchyard.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The cross 30m south of St Constantine's Church survives well and is a
good example of a `wheel' headed cross with different cross motifs on each
face. There is no record of it having been moved, although in form and
decoration it is more typical of a wayside cross than the generally more
elaborate churchyard crosses.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in West Cornwall, (1999)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 72 & SW 82; Pathfinder Series 1370
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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